Tag Archives: Pittsburgh

Autumn in Washington, DC

All day I have enjoyed watching the rain, sleet, and snow through my living room window.  I love such weather–if now more on paper than by actually venturing outside in it.  Today mostly, though, I have been thinking of flowers, trees, and the other parts of nature that give me solace.

It has been a challenging fall here in the capital area, and in many other places.  Flowers for family and friends, for the Carolinas, for Pittsburgh, for California, for the separated parents and children, for Bears Ears, for the sick, the hungry, and the lonely.  As a secular humanist agnostic, I don’t exactly pray, but I do remain hopeful (mostly).  I send good vibes. I mutter or whisper or chant: May you be well, may you be happy, may you have peace.  At least, here are some flowers:

"Plum Perfect" floridbunda, Kathrine Dulin Folger Rose Garden

“Plum Perfect” floridbunda, Kathrine Dulin Folger Rose Garden

bumblebee, Mary Livingston Ripley Garden

bumblebee, Mary Livingston Ripley Garden

giant American elm near the National Museum of Natural Histor

giant American elm near the National Museum of Natural History

crepe myrtle, Gotelli Collection, National Arboretum

crepe myrtle, Gotelli Collection, National Arboretum

sweetgum leaves, Gotelli Collection, National Arboretum

sweetgum leaves, Gotelli Collection, National Arboretum

rose in front of Arts and Industries

garden, National Gallery of Art

garden, National Gallery of Art

 

toad lily, Mary Livingston Ripley Garden

toad lily, Mary Liivingston Ripley Garden

woodpecker, Mary Livingston Ripley Garden

woodpecker, Mary Livingston Ripley Garden

glade, National Arboretum

glade, National Arboretum

Gotelli Collection, National Aroretum

Gotelli Collection, National Aroretum

 

 

morning, Gotelli Collection, National Arboretum

The Year in Review: 2015

Hello, here are twelve photos from 2015 and my wishes for a Happy New Year.

January: Goodbye to the dogwood

January: Goodbye to the dogwood

February: Pho 75

February: Pho 75

March: crocus

March: crocus

April: creeping phlox

April: creeping phlox

May: The Awakening

May: The Awakening

June: black-eyed Susan vine

June: black-eyed Susan vine

July: the garden and the camper

July: the garden and the camper

Grand Teton National Park

August: Grand Teton National Park

September: Glacier National Park

September: Glacier National Park

October: Insect on locust

October: Insect on locust

November: Frick Park, Pittsburgh

November: Frick Park, Pittsburgh

December: Flowers from my student

December: Flowers from my student

 

 

Humbug, maybe

I realize I haven’t posted anything for a couple of weeks.  I have some excuses to give and then I will tell you the truth.

Excuses: My husband retired on November 30. Two days after that Tom went to India. He will be back in a few days. Meanwhile, I have been getting rid of more stuff as we get ready to leave Denver in January. This meant making trips to the Goodwill, packing boxes, and thinking about organizing our files.

My friend Jenny and I transported the silver Honda and the green parrot, Phoenix, back to Virginia where they originally came from.

Jenny in Salina, Kansas

Jenny in Salina, Kansas

Phoenix in Topeka, Kansas

Phoenix in Topeka, Kansas

Now at 11:19 AM (EST) Wednesday, December 12, I am sitting in a Starbucks—kitty corner to the Waffle House—off Berryville Rd. in Winchester, VA.

Actually, I didn’t stay long at that Starbucks, although I was in Winchester long enough that I finally understood the road system. I am still not sure whether the roads revolve around the big box stores or vice versa. On the brighter side, twice I was able to eat breakfast at the Apple Valley Café with my son Bill. Last Sunday, I was able to see my daughter Sarah and her husband Mike at the Eden Center in Falls Church, VA. We had café sua da, seafood soup, and then bubble drink to follow. Now I am sitting on the couch at my son Robert’s place in Pittsburgh.  I crave more air and light, but I love all the books, art, and other stuff and I just ate a bowl of delicious potato soup.

books and other things

books and other things

silver Honda in Pittsburgh

silver Honda in Pittsburgh

Truth: For most of my life—for decades after I became an agnostic—I loved Christmas: Snow on blue spruce, getting all the decorations on the tree, especially those handcrafted with yarn and construction paper.  I loved making the gingerbread cookies that went on the tree. I loved making the pralines and the pecan pie.  Tom, the kids, and I reveled in our own special holiday treats: chả giò, pupusas, Chinese dumplings, or chili verde. Even though I didn’t believe the religious part of the holiday, I believed fervently in the family and tradition and love and hope parts of it all.  A couple of my Christian friends laughed with me about my large collection of holiday music. I have everything from Pete Seeger and Joan Baez to the Congressional Chorus and the Boston Camerata, although now the CDs are in storage.

Something has happened to me these last few years. I was the one who had really believed in Santa Claus, even though I was the one who put the oranges in the beds*, candy canes on the tree, and the gifts from Santa under the tree. Now I feel gloomy and I feel sad.  Those emotions might be permissible as my Germanic soul waits for the Solstice, but I also feel petulant and that is less acceptable.  My husband has noted that I have tended to be gloomy around Christmas ever since my dad died.  That’s not right, so I am bucking up right now.  Robert and I are going to the bookstore and then to lunch.  I think I will buy an orange and a candy cane.  I will believe in family and tradition and love and hope because I think that is how I can live successfully close to the ground.

“I will honour Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year. I will live in the Past, the Present, and the Future. The Spirits of all Three shall strive within me. I will not shut out the lessons that they teach!”   Ebenezer Scrooge from A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens, 1843

*At our house Santa put an orange in each of our beds as the proof that he looked in on us while we slept.

candy cane with orange

candy cane with orange